There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
As I look back on my eight years with the ACFW North Denver board, I am reminded how far the LORD has brought me on my writing journey and how many wonderful people He placed in my life. With that in mind, I would like to share with you my Facebook post from November 10th. It pretty much sums up everything I feel:
Today is my birthday. I turn 59. It is a sad day for me as well as a joyous one because God has asked me to step into something new and trust Him with the next season of my life by letting go of what I have come to know and love for the past eight years–being part of God’s movement in American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and its North Denver chapter.
I didn’t start with ACFW. God surprised me 12 years ago by giving me a “by the way…” speech that ended with Him saying He had a project for me: write a book series. Being the obedience person I am, I told Him no, I wasn’t a writer, never wanted to be, thank you very much, now go find someone who is qualified and wants to do this project. Needless to say it didn’t go very well after that.
For a year God and I had the same argument until finally I “gave in” and began His instruction to apprentice. This wasn’t easy. I knew nothing about writing, knew nothing about how to go about finding a support group, and since the Internet wasn’t the way it is today, I felt pretty much on my own. Plus, I still wasn’t all that happy about being called to write. But God promised me He would be with me and lead me to people He wanted me to get in touch with.
Things were okay at first, but by 2006 I was tired of trying to learn how to do this writing thing on my own so I went before the LORD and said sorry, but I’m quitting. It was then He told me He would give me new wine skins that would never run dry. Not understanding what He meant I shrugged it off until one day I stumbled across a meeting run by Sharen Watson in south Denver. At that meeting she introduced me to one of the most wonderful persons I have ever know, Kathy Kovach, who just “by chance” was starting a writing group up north with an organization called ACFW. Kathy invited me to join them for their first meeting where I met the equally amazing Paula Moldenhauer and Margie Vawter.
Needless to say, Kathy, Paula, and Margie became my life blood and dearest friends, being there for me through thick and thin, 24/7, during my very weird writing journey. Through them I became involved in ACFW and its North Denver Chapter (called HIS Writers at the time), serving on the board in the capacity of secretary for 4 years, vice president for 1-1/2 years, and president for 3. From these ladies and this wonderful organization I learned how to write, how to network, and how to trust others with what God had entrusted me with.
I never wanted my involvement to end, but this past summer God told me it’s time to let go and step into what He wanted me to do in the first place, and that is finish the writing project He gave me back in 2002. So in June I talked to Kathy and Paula, told them what the LORD told me, and put in my resignation as chapter president and ACFW Colorado “woman of all trades.”
Even though I knew I had six more months of meetings to organize and a new board to get ready for next year, my eyes were focused on what would be my last, big, hands-on project: our 2014 Novel Crafters Seminar of the Rockies on November 8th.
The seminar was wonderful! But after it was over, once I got in my car and drove away from the Ramada, I was overcome with deep sadness knowing the part of my life–that season I had finally come to know and love–was over and it was time to move on.
When I walked in the door that night my husband, Kevin, asked how it went. I told him great, then noticed a Happy Birthday balloon floating in the family room above a lamp. When I saw the balloon I smiled and asked him if he got that for me, fully expecting him to say yes. But Kevin didn’t say yes. Instead he told me this: while working in the yard that day he noticed that a Happy Birthday balloon had gotten stuck in our grapevines. The balloon was limp and pretty much deflated. But Kevin felt the LORD was telling him to take it inside and give it to me when I got home, that it was a gift from Him. Then a strange thing happened. Kevin took it inside and the balloon inflated and rose ’til it touched the ceiling.
This is my birthday balloon. It is from the LORD. It is His way of saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It is His way of reminding me how much He loves me and how His promises are always true. It is His way of thanking me for trusting Him even when I found trust a million miles away. It is His way of reassuring me my life is fully in His hands, and regardless of which way the path turns, He will always be there fore me.
So, LORD, I want to publicly say “thank you” for this beautiful and precious gift. This Happy Birthday balloon that was found entangled in your grapevine. I want to say “thank you” for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. I want to say “thank you” for not giving up on me, for refusing to take “no” for an answer, and for walking with me not only during my writing journey, but during my entire life–even when I didn’t know or care who you were. For all this and more, thank you, LORD!
Like I said, today is my birthday. I turn 59. Can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store, and as long as my God is with me, I will be alright.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. [And] I will be found by you…”